July 18, 2014

Diaz maintains share of Marathon Classic lead

Laura Diaz carded a 2-under 69 on Friday to remain on top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Marathon Classic.

Sylvania, OH ( - Laura Diaz carded an even-par 71 on Saturday, but that was good enough to maintain a share of the lead at the Marathon Classic.

Diaz was joined at 11-under-par 202 by Lee-Anne Pace, who shot a 3-under 68 during her third round at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Diaz is seeking her third career win on the LPGA Tour and first since 2002, while Pace is trying for her first win on tour.

"I made a lot of good putts that didn't go in. The last hole was another one of them. Didn't have a solid read on it really," Diaz said. "It was a fun day. I enjoyed myself. We'll see what tomorrow holds."

Jaye Marie Green fired an 8-under 63 to vault into a tie for third place with 2012 champion So Yeon Ryu (68) at 10-under 203.

Lydia Ko (70) is alone in fifth at minus-9, a shot ahead of Women's British Open winner Mo Martin (67), Austin Ernst (66), Brooke Pancake (67), Cristie Kerr (68), Katherine Kirk (68) and Brittany Lang (69).

Diaz entered the day with a 3-stroke lead, but Pace birdied the third to move to 9-under and cut Diaz's advantage to two.

Diaz followed with a birdie of her own at the third to regain her 3-stroke lead before a double-bogey at the fourth dropped her to 10-under and left her just a shot clear of Pace.

Green, meanwhile, was making her way up the leaderboard with an outward 30 that included birdies at the first, sixth, eighth and ninth.

After trading a birdie at the 12th with a bogey at the 13th, Green rolled in four straight birdies from the 14th to reach 10-under and meet Diaz atop the leaderboard.

Green closed her day with a par at the last to claim the clubhouse lead.

"I hit all of my tee balls pretty much in the fairway. I knocked them close. I made them," said Green. "I don't think I missed any greens today actually. I only missed one, I believe. So that helped a lot."

Pace briefly made it a 3-way tie for the lead with a birdie at the par-4 ninth before Diaz followed in the final group and holed out her second shot at the same hole to jump two clear at 12-under.

Diaz failed to convert about a 15-foot par putt at the 12th to drop her lead to just a stroke as Pace countered a pair of bogeys at the 11th and 12th with back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th to remain at 10-under.

Pace then birdied the 17th to claim a share of the lead at minus-11 and closed her round with a par to finish there.

Diaz parred her final six holes to also finish at 11-under.

NOTES: Diaz collected both of her wins in 2002 at the Welch's/Circle K Championship and LPGA Corning Classic ... Pace is an 8-time winner on the Ladies European Tour ... Green is a tour rookie who had missed nine cuts in her previous 14 starts this season.

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